There aren’t many days when I don’t miss my Dad terribly. It’s over three years now but at the end of every day’s play I still reflexively go to text or call him to discuss the days play. But today was one of those where I was pretty glad we weren’t going to discuss the day’s play. You would struggle to find a day that has been much worse for Somerset this season, or at least one where the hope and expectation at the start of the day eroded, gradually, painfully, depressingly.
Dad always saw the glass as half empty when it came to the cricket. He’d lived through the fifties and sixties when things were, let’s face it pretty rough and that affected his outlook on the fortunes of our beloved county.
Essex had much the better of the morning session taking 4 wickets for the addition of only 95 runs in 30 overs. While the second session could be seen at more even as Somerset pressed ahead for a declaration before tea, the steady fall of wickets to the spin of Simon Harmer seems to encourage thoughts of a fruitful fourth innings for the Somerset attack.
Set the highest total of the game Essex confounded all expectations to close on 147-1 leaving them a further 189 runs to complete an improbable come-from-behind win. I’m not going to attempt to explain why the much vaunted Somerset attack have failed to make significant inroads time around but suffice to say that it’s going to take something pretty special to wrest a victory on the final day.
At The Oval Surrey negotiated the tricky evening session of Day 2 with minimal damage to close on 197-4 a lead of 161. They extended that thanks to a consistent lower order performance to set Lancashire an improbable but not impossible 271 to win. Lancashire closed on 177-5 needing another 94.
Worcestershire who started the day in a dominant position over Yorkshire at Scarborough continued to press home their advantage, thanks largely to Mooen Ali who didn’t just nudge the selectors but gave them a virtual poke in the eye. He was eventually out for 219 having added 294 with Daryl Mitchell for the visitor’s second wicket. Moeen wasn’t done there taking the wickets of both Yorkshire openers before tea and another two in the final session to end the day with 4-35 as Yorkshire closed on 140-6 still needing 216 to make Worcestershire bat again.
Hampshire, who resumed on 253-4, a lead of 364 over Notts extended that to 511 before pulling out before tea. Notts must be sick of the sight of Liam Dawson and Kyle Abbott who added 133 for the 8th wicket in the first innings added a further 66 without being separated as Hants declared on 399-7. By the close Notts had reduced the target to 383 but had lost 4 wickets in doing so a position that could have been a lot worse if it hadn’t been for the admirable Steven Mullaney and Riki Wessels who had added 43 for the 5th wicket without being separated at the close.
Of the Blast quarter finalists in division one only Worcestershire can have real hope of a winning performance to head into the weekend at this stage.
In Divison 2 Durham completed a comprehensive win over Glamorgan by an innings and 30 runs before 11.30 to send Martin Emerson back up the motorway well ahead of schedule and I suspect in a much happier frame of mind than he anticipated ahead of Durham’s Blast quarter-final on Friday. Durham’s win moves them up to 7th in the division while Glamorgan are now cut adrift at the bottom of the table.
Glamorgan’s plight was will be worsened if Northants who trail Middlesex by 215 wickets with just one of their opponents wickets to take complete the win at Wantage Road.
Second-placed Sussex, who appear to be playing Derbyshire on a new extension to the M23 set Derbyshire 405 to win. Of all the quarter-finalists they face the toughest task, a trip to Durham after probably a full day’s play, ahead of Friday’s second quarter-final.
In the battle of third and fourth Kent will have travelled back around the M25 before Thursday’s first T20 quarter-final in good spirits following an 8 wicket victory over Leicestershire. A run chase that looked anything but easy set the highest score of the match. They will be hoping Lancashire take their game at The Oval as deep as possible into the fourth day.